, Volume 793, Issue 1, pp 213–224 | Cite as

Specifics and challenges of assessing exposure and effects of pesticides in small water bodies

  • Stefan LorenzEmail author
  • Jes J. Rasmussen
  • Angelika Süß
  • Thomas Kalettka
  • Burkhard Golla
  • Peter Horney
  • Matthias Stähler
  • Bernd Hommel
  • Ralf B. Schäfer


Small water bodies (SWB) are freshwater ecosystems of high ecological relevance. However, they receive considerably higher inputs of pesticides compared to larger water bodies owing to their close connection to adjacent agricultural fields in combination with their low water volume or discharge. Monitoring of the pesticide contamination of lentic and lotic SWB is a challenging task as various spatial and temporal factors affect pesticide’s maximum peak concentrations in the water bodies. We present an overview of the major challenges that can complicate the detection of exceedances of regulatory acceptable concentrations. Pesticide data from streams encompassed by the Danish pesticide monitoring program show that the highest pesticide concentrations are found in SWB. A ditch monitoring in a German orchard reveals that event-driven sampling following spray application outperforms the widely used automatic water sampling at fixed intervals, and we therefore suggest that the latter should replace the former in SWB. Furthermore, we suggest that gathering of quantitative data on pesticide pollution of lentic SWB should be given priority in future research.


Chemical and ecological status Pesticide monitoring Regulatory acceptable concentration Risk assessment 



The authors thank Karin Fricke, Gerd Palm and Peter Quast for their assistance during field samplings in the German orchard region. We thank Gabriela Bischoff, Ina Stachewicz-Blum, Gabi Smykalla, Kerstin Jänicke, Hartmut Nowak, Frank Seefeld and Walter Tunkel for their help in sample preparation and pesticide analysis. We are also grateful to Anne Mette Poulsen from the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, for linguistic assistance and three anonymous referees for very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 516 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Plant Analysis and Stored Product ProtectionJulius-Kühn-InstituteBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of Landscape HydrologyLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape ResearchMünchebergGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Strategies and Technology AssessmentJulius-Kühn-InstituteKleinmachnowGermany
  5. 5.Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany

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